Some time back, Marion Richmond took time to reflect on Simeon Sadik and his indelible impact, and our exchange of questions and answers follows:
Greg Freeman: Your decision to acquire 27 Ibn Galal-5 years ago certainly proved to be monumental, because her daughter Simeon Safanad produced two internationally influential stallions: Simeon Shai and Simeon Sadik, as well as several outstanding and productive daughters. The ability to assess a horse thoroughly and objectively, and the good fortune of buying great quality when the opportunity presents itself are key, but would you agree that the foundation of any great breeding program is decidedly impacted by great mare families?
Marion Richmond: 27 Ibn Galal-5 (imported from Bàbolna, Hungary), I think, would be one of the most successful broodmares of all time, through her descendants throughout the world, many of whom are champions in their own country. I think her great success is due partly to her correct conformation and hardiness. When Galal died - after pulling a huge farm dray [in Hungary], taking a two-year journey to arrive in Australia and being the very first Australian champion mare - she had unblemished legs, no swellings, clean legs. Quite wonderful. Also helping Galal, being the granddam that she was, is also due to her pedigree, which carries three crosses to the world famous Egyptian mare Yosreia, who was herself the dam of so many very famous and productive horses including Aswan at Tersk Stud in the USSR, imported from the Egyptian Agricultural Organization (EAO) in Egypt.
In my opinion, the mare has a far greater impact on the resulting foal than the sire. When I started breeding only straight Egyptians, I purchased excellent females and then after several years purchased my first male, the legendary Asfour, as a colt still on his dam.
Greg: Did Simeon Shai and Simeon Sadik secure your global reputation as a formidable breeder of fine Arabians of straight Egyptian breeding?
Marion: Many years ago, we showed horses in several major shows when there were sometimes over forty horses in a class with one judge who was usually an international expert. After the show, the judge would ask to go to the farm where his champions came from. That is how we first came to the notice of overseas breeders, as both Simeon Sadik and Simeon Shai won major international shows. Simeon Shai set a world record and to this day I am not sure if this record has been broken. Simeon Shai won, in under a year, Canadian and USA National Champion Stallion, Champion in Scottsdale (USA), at the time the largest Arabian show in the world, and the Salon du Cheval in Paris. Not bad for an Aussie.
Greg: Thinking about Simeon Sadik, what attributes do you think he contributed most to his offspring? What set him apart from other outstanding stallions?
Marion: Simeon Sadik was a horse born ahead of his time. He was probably the most exotic in the face, jet black, and he had an elegance and fineness not seen at the time in Australia. Sadik was also an exceptional mover, covering ground in a light and airy manner. He carried his tail like a palm tree, and to my mind he looked like a French bronze by Mene or Barye.
Simeon Sadik gave to his offspring his large, luminous eyes, beauty and terrific movement, and also wonderful black pigmented skin that is so lacking today. Simeon Sadik had exceptional beauty and charisma that set him apart from the horses of his time.
Greg: Simeon Sadik's legacy continues through his offspring and their descendants, and his impact has been felt around the world. In your own breeding program, you have not hesitated to linebreed. As you review Sadik's record as a sire in hindsight, do you think there were crosses or "nicks" that proved more successful for him? Did the linebred crosses "fix" the points for which you had aimed?
Marion: Simeon Sadik's sire and dam were exceptionally good horses, and their pedigrees were very diverse. Asfour, his sire, carried in his pedigree such great Egyptian horses as Gazal, Hadban Enzahi, Maymoonah and Alaa El Din, and Galal carried the likes of Yosreia and the original stallion at the EAO, Galal. All giants of the breed. Therefore, sire over daughter or half-brother to half-sister could and did work well under those circumstances. Plus the fact that the individual animals in themselves were great individuals.
One must be very wary of breeding just pedigree to pedigree without taking the horses into consideration. Linebreeding has given to the Simeon horses generations of horses that now have a certain look. Elegant with correct conformation, great movement and mostly beautiful animals.
Greg: Arguably, the sale of Simeon Sadik to Mr. and Mrs. Watts was wise as it allowed him to make a splash in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe, and I understand you retained breedings to him and took full advantage of them. Simeon Setavi was a result of one of those breedings, which allowed Sadik to play a role in your own breeding program even after he had gone to England. Was it difficult to part with Sadik? Especially because of the distance? Are there matings you wish you had made before or even after the Watts acquisition?